My Mom is a Nurse. What Are We Doing to Protect Her?

I remember the exact day my mom became a registered nurse.

I remember it because it was within the same week that I walked across the stage for my eighth-grade graduation. During the ceremony, an award for most valuable volunteer parent was presented and my mom’s name was called by the school principal. My principal looked around quizzically when no one responded and called her name again.

I looked up at the audience and scanned for my mom’s face—which was filled with terror. She was NOT about to move from that seat and walk up to that stage. But that was okay; that was just how my mom was—shy, introverted, and always too embarrassed to take credit for her selflessness, even when it was due.

So today, when I think of my mom and her coworkers—fellow nurses, doctors, therapists, maintenance workers, and aids—on the frontlines fighting against this awful pandemic, I am filled with pride. They are the heroes we need in this moment.

But now, along with this feeling of pride, I’m also the one who’s filled with terror.

I try to talk to my mom every day, but it’s been hard to reach her in the past few days because she’s been working tirelessly. It’s almost never good news when I do; last week seems like an eternity ago, but it was then that she told me her hospital was running out of masks. “We already have to ration them,” she said.

And it’s not only masks. In general, her hospital and other hospitals across the country lack adequate numbers of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to prevent themselves from falling ill from the coronavirus. According to the CDC, N95 respirators are the PPE most often used to control exposure to infections from airborne viruses like the coronavirus. And now the situation is so dire that the government agency has changed its recommendation, now urging nurses to forgo N95 respirators in general and to reserve them for procedures in which small particles, known as aerosols, are more likely to be produced. (Like, for example, when a patient is so critically ill that they need to be intubated.)

Yesterday, President Trump responded to the growing crisis by invoking the Defense Production Act to mobilize war-scale manufacturing for critical items, and federal health officials said they plan to buy 500 million more N95 respirators over the next 18 months. What to do about shortages today?

Unbelievably, the CDC announced Thursday that those healthcare workers who don’t have access to masks should use bandanas or scarves to shield them from infection. Consequently, nurses like my mom are left virtually unprotected. This is unacceptable; we owe our healthcare workers so much more.

“We don’t feel protected,” Melissa Johnson-Camacho, University of California, Davis nurse and chief nurse representative for the California Nurses Association, told ABC News. “I’ve cried almost every day. I think if there were more transparency, everyone would feel a lot better.”

This lack of transparency, leadership, and coordination between local, state, and federal agencies with individual hospitals is causing healthcare workers to be exposed to coronavirus needlessly. When we talked earlier this week, my mom told me that at least a dozen doctors and nurses on her floor were directly exposed to COVID-19 by a patient who came in for a routine surgery and tested positive after the operation.

Bonnie Castillo, the executive director for National Nurses United, which represents 50,000 registered nurses across the U.S., told ABC News that her organization hears from nurses daily, pleading for more sufficient resources. Additionally, in response to life-threatening shortages, more than 400,000 healthcare providers signed a Change.org petition that urges the Trump administration to do more to procure critical supplies right now.

We know from other countries that healthcare workers—the very people we need on the frontlines—are getting far sicker from coronavirus than other patients.

I talked to my mom last yesterday. She told me she is sick with a cough and had worked the entire day. I asked what her hospital’s response was. “They gave me one of our last masks and told me to stay six feet away from others,” she said, “and told me to take the day off tomorrow.”

So I continue to be filled with terror. And I keep asking what we are doing to protect our nurses. What happens when they’re all sent home sick with a cough because of inadequate protective gear? What will we do then?


Originally published at Spirituality & Health.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Living with COVID-19: 5 Ways to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety

In just the space of a week, everyday American life has begun to shut down.

Schools, businesses, large events—and now even restaurants and bars in some cities—have shuttered as fear of COVID-19 spreads across the country. Social distancing has begun to take hold, as millions of Americans begin the process of holing up inside of their homes. Some have even been cut off from beloved family members as nursing homes continue to quarantine residents to protect elderly populations most vulnerable to this dangerous respiratory illness.

It’s no surprise that many of us are dealing with mounting anxiety as uncertainty about what comes next and how the pandemic will affect our lives grows.

“Our brains evolved to monitor our environment for signs of danger. During an outbreak like this we are flooded with frightening messages about the risks to us, to the ones we care about, and to our daily routines. This can push our anxiety system into ‘overdrive’ making it hard to focus on anything but the disease,” according to Yale Medicine’s blog.

Many experts acknowledge that the fear and anxiety around this pandemic can feel overwhelming, so it’s more important than ever to be both a caregiver and to practice self-care.

“Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger,” advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what are some things we can do to help us stay calm? Try these five strategies to help you—and your family—manage the fear and fretting sparked by the spread of the coronavirus.

Turn Off the News

First things first: Control your media consumption. While it’s important to stay abreast of new developments and keep informed about protecting against the coronavirus, enough is enough. Limit the amount of information you read or watch about the pandemic every day and don’t immerse yourself in social media. Restricting screen time (this goes for kids stuck at home, too) can be key to helping you maintain your cool.

Exercise Outdoors

Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you have to entirely cut off access to the outside world.  For example, taking walks, biking, or running outside can help you control your anxiety with exercise as well as help break up the monotony of being indoors so much. Avoid crowded tracks, though, and take a run in the woods instead.

Take Advantage of Time With Your Family

With school and business closure ramping up across the country, most of us are about to spend a lot more time with our families. Why not take advantage? Play board games with the kids and make an extravagant meal with your partner. Yes, your kids might get on your nerves. So, mindfully acknowledge that annoyance toward them and then kiss it goodbye. Treasure this time.

Arrange Video Dates

It’s so important that during quarantines and while practicing social distancing that you don’t isolate yourself completely. This is critical for both you and for loved ones in your lives who don’t live in your home. Arranging a video date with your best friend, sibling, or parent can provide emotional support during trying times. Even conducting work meetings via video and communicating with your coworkers face-to-face can help keep you anchored in your community.

Rely on Your Normal Self-Care Routine

Practicing your regular wellness routine can help maintain a semblance of normalcy in your life. Using tools like meditation, yoga, mantra, and prayer can give you the support you need to keep calm. Keeping up with regular sleep hygiene habits is key. If you normally practice yoga in a class, try an online lesson. Wellness app Down Dog is providing free access to its digital lessons until April 1. Our own Julie Peters is also live streaming all of her yoga classes from her studio Ocean and Crow on Facebook Live. Also try one of Spirituality & Health’s many guided meditations for support.


Originally Published at Spirituality & Health.

Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

5 Surprising Foods that Spark Passion + Recipes

Everyone’s heard anecdotally that oysters, chocolate, and strawberries boost the libido—but is that claim fact or fiction?

The appeal of being able to eat our way to a better sex life is undeniable. American women have distressingly high rates of sexual dysfunction, which get gradually worse as menopause hits. Research shows that more than 40 percent of premenopausal women have a less than ideal sex life with a new study revealing that sexual dysfunction jumps by nearly 30 percent during perimenopause.

Though the jury is still out on whether specific foods can improve your sex life, there is a lot of scientific evidence indicating that there is a connection between diet and libido. Research shows that eating healthy, nutritious whole foods is one of the keys to an active sex life.

While scientists haven’t proven that there is a direct correlation between an improved sex life and oyster consumption, there is some evidence that the following specific foods contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fats, and amino acids that may, indeed, spark passion between the sheets.

1. Fruits Like Avocado

Avocados have a long-held reputation as an aphrodisiac—it was the Aztecs who first identified the fruit as a libido booster. Maybe it’s the creamy texture or its sensual shape that makes avocados so tempting. Or it could be that the fruit’s high percentage of mono-saturated fats and vitamin B-6 give us the energy to keep going. Avocados are also rich in potassium and folic acid, which supports stamina and fertility.

This Kale Salad with Apples, Avocado & Grilled Maple Tempeh would make a great lunch and also includes other nutritious foods like kale and apple that may ramp up the sex drive.

2. Nuts Like Walnuts

Nuts like walnuts and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin are chock full of zinc and L-arginine to get you in the mood. A recent study has shown that regularly taking zinc mineral supplements increases testosterone levels and improves the frequency and potency of sex for both men and women. The amino acid L-arginine may help women have better orgasms and reach them more quickly by stimulating vaginal blood flow and smooth-muscle relaxation. One study showed that 60 percent of women increased their sex drive by taking L-arginine in conjunction with ginkgo, damiana, and other vitamins and minerals.

If you are a fan of burgers, try this scrumptious recipe for Walnut-Mushroom Burgers. Mushrooms also support cardiovascular health, which may also help with erectile dysfunction by encouraging better blood flow throughout the body.

3. Spices Like Cinnamon

Eating spices like cinnamon heat up your body, so it’s no surprise that they can also stimulate sexual desire. Like avocados, cinnamon has been long prized as an aphrodisiac ever since traders introduced the exotic Eastern spice to the West. In addition to short-term libido stimulation, cinnamon may also help balance blood sugar levels, as high blood sugar may cause erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.

Try this recipe for Breakfast Crêpes with Cinnamon-Orange Honey to help get your partner in the mood early in the day!

4. Roots Like Maca

Maca root has been cherished by Peruvians for its medicinal properties for ages. In addition to being highly nutritious (maca contains high levels of vitamin C, potassium, copper, and B-6), there is strong scientific evidence that the root legitimately boosts libido in both men in women. One study from 2010 found evidence that maca improves sexual desire after six weeks of consumption. Another study even claims it may improve semen quality!

As a sweet treat for your sweet, try this yummy recipe for Maca Brazil Truffles, which contains coconut, Brazil nuts, and Medjool dates.

5. Leafy Greens like Spinach

Spinach can trigger arousal and may render sex even more pleasurable because it is rich in the mineral magnesium, which can decrease inflammation in blood vessels and increase blood flow. This can stimulate orgasms in women and enable men to get an erection more easily and maintain it for longer. Spinach is also one of the highest sources of folic acid around, which studies show increases fertility and boosts libido.

This recipe for Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto contains a good amount of spinach and makes for a delicious dinner.


Originally published on Spirituality & Health magazine.

Image by Adina Voicu/ Pixabay

Valentine’s Day: 7 Unique Gifts for a Wellness and Self-Care Lifestyle

In a sea of chocolates and roses, it can be hard to choose a Valentine’s Day gift the speaks to the unique passions of your chosen recipient. When your significant other, friend, or family member craves green smoothies rather than a box of chocolates or prefers essential oils over roses, try one of these gifts targeted toward their wellness lifestyle.

 

Goodnight Darling Starter Set

Goodnight Darling Co. Starter Set

The mission of beauty and wellness company Goodnight Darling Co. is to “bring sleep back.” This four-piece starter set comprised of vegan and cruelty-free products includes the Deep Detox Bath Soak, which blends Pink Himalayan and Dead Sea salts with rose petals, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils, and Fade to Black Herbal Tea, which is made of stress-relieving clove, catnip, passionflower, lavender, pink rose petals, and Valerian root, and is designed to promote a good night’s sleep. $75

Buy Now

 

Varietal Honey Flight

Bee Raw 04 Wildflower Varietal Honey Flight

What better gift for your honey than a flight of wildflower varietal honey? Bee Raw, which also supports a foundation to help save the bees, offers this set that comes with four hand-corked vials of either Maine Raspberry, Colorado Star Thistle, Colorado Sweet Yellow Clover, California Wild Black Sage, or New York Basswood honey. $40

Buy Now

Pocket Farmacy Black 704165 A01

Pocket Farmacy

Husband and wife team Jean-Pierre LeBlanc and Kate Ross LeBlanc founded Saje Natural Wellness almost 30 years ago after Jean-Pierre was faced with a series of health challenges and chronic pain following a serious car accident. Seeking a more effective and natural solution to aid his recovery, he leveraged his background in chemistry to formulate his first essential oil blends. The Pocket Farmacy is their most popular set and includes roll-ons of essential oil blends to ease your headache, joint pain, cough, digestive issues, and stress. You can also buy individual blends to customize your own pocket pharmacy. $20-$65

Buy Now

 

Birch Love Cuff

Personalized Love Birch Cuff

Birch trees traditionally represent protection and resilience. This personalized cuff was cast from real birch bark and is designed to “evoke the romantic tradition of carving lovers’ names into a tree,” according to Nancy Nelson, the jewelry artist who created the bracelet. $100

Buy Now

 

Tease Tea Calming Tea Set

Tease Tea Self-Care Elixir

Give a gift that your beloved can incorporate into a daily wellness routine. This calming tea set includes an herbal tisane that blends moringa with other Ayurvedic medicinal herbs to promote a calm focus, and includes a tea strainer. $30

Buy Now

 

Satya Lotus Necklace

Enchanted Beginnings Necklace

This charming lotus pendant can be a symbol of new beginnings and full potential for a recent love. Satya, the company that sells this necklace, donates a percentage of all sales to its Satya Foundation, which has raised more than $1 million for children’s charities across the world. $119

Buy Now

 

Eco Herbal Garden

Modern Sprout Eco Planter Herb Kit

If your beloved likes to use herbs both in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes, gift this four-piece herb planter kit. It includes basil, cilantro, mint, and parsley, and the best part is that the frosted glass jars comes with a clever self-watering system so you can’t over- or under-water your indoor herb garden. $25-$100

Buy Now

 


Image: Bruno /Germany/Pixabay

Originally published at Spirituality & Health

20 Creative (and Shame-Free) New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year fills us with both excitement and dread. Though it can be a time of new beginnings and clean slates, the New Year can also foster shame and guilt—big time. We sometimes set ourselves up for failure by making promises we can’t keep by initiating resolutions steeped in self-blame.

Break that yearly cycle by focusing on New Year’s resolutions that make you feel good rather than stressed. Try these 20 small—but mighty—resolutions to foster positivity and growth in your life rather than shame and failure.

  1. Buy a new houseplant. The power of plants for both emotional and physical healing is often underestimated. Research shows that plants provide many therapeutic benefits, including helping us bounce back from stress, purifying the air in our environment, and boosting focus and concentration.
  2. Incorporate more color into your wardrobe. Adding a pop of color to your outfit can make you feel happier. Ayurvedic color therapy posits that the seven colors of the rainbow balances and heals both the mind and body. Vata doshas thrive in orange, red, and gold; Pitta doshas can balance their hot tendencies with cooling, soothing colors, such as blues and greens; and Kapha doshas should choose bold colors like purple.
  3. Eat more colorful food. According to the American Heart Association, we can get all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need by adding a variety of colorful fruits and veggies to our plates each day.
  4. Prioritize getting more sleep. Establishing good sleep hygiene practices is essential to your health and wellbeing, according to Dr. Nicole Moshfegh, author of The Book of Sleep: 75 Strategies to Relieve Insomnia. Sleep hygiene refers to a set of practices and habits that set the stage for a good night’s sleep, including for example, creating a sleep sanctuary in your completely dark and quiet bedroom, establishing a bedtime ritual, or relying on stress-relief tools like meditation. Check out more advice from Dr. Moshfegh on avoiding insomnia.
  5. Keep a gratitude list. It is worth remembering what we are grateful for each day to help us cope when things don’t seem so great. Just keeping a simple list of things we’re happy about will help us appreciate them more.
  6. Compliment yourself and another person at least once a day. Most people (including you!)  like getting compliments. However, don’t be fake or crude; being genuine, positive, and respectful is a must.
  7. Dedicate self-care time each day. Carve out five to 10 minutes a day to just sit with yourself. Establishing both a morning routine and nighttime ritual to practice self-care is a good start. You deserve it.
  8. Read a book once a month. Stimulate your intellectual curiosity by picking up a new book each month. Reading has a ton of benefits, including improving vocabulary, memory, and analytical and writing skills. Subscribers can begin by browsing our book reviews.
  9. Drink more water. In addition to keeping you hydrated, drinking water can help fight fatigue, balance digestion, and control your appetite. To help you get the requisite eight, 8 oz cups a day, try adding herbal tea to boost your intake.
  10. Make sure you go to bed happy each night. Repeat this affirmation before going to bed: “I am in control of my happiness. I forgive myself and others for the sake my wellbeing.”
  11. Go on a social media detox for at least a week. The University of Pennsylvania released a study last year that revealed that social media is bad for our mental health. According to the study, to be less lonely and depressed, we should limit social media usage to just 30 minutes a day. Also try these four ways to stress less with social media.
  12. Experiment with a new recipe each week. Be adventurous and try new recipes that you would not normally consider. You might discover you love a dish you would have never tried. Sean Sherman’s Sautéed Corn Mushrooms with Fresh Corn and Fried Sage fits the bill perfectly and can be your inaugural recipe.
  13. Spend more time with people you like. Studies have shown that more support systems you have in place, the happier you are. Rather than building your world around work and obligation, focus on spending more time with the people you enjoy. Doing so can even help you reconnect with old friends and family.
  14. Make a new friend. Sometimes, we get so set in our ways that we don’t consider the possibilities of new ventures. Establishing a fresh relationship with a new friend takes work, but it is usually worth it in the end.
  15. Practice listening more. Listening can help us be more mindful and live more in the moment. Try these eight ways to be a more mindful listener.
  16. Turn off your phone at meals. Americans spend more than 3 hours a day on their smartphones. Smartphone usage has become so habitual that using them is as natural as brushing our teeth. Stop the continual interruptions by setting your device to “do not disturb” while you’re eating and enjoy your meal in peace.
  17. Say no more often. Stop being a people-pleaser and putting other people’s needs before your own. Putting pressure on yourself to accomplish tasks you don’t actually like or that are too difficult ramps up anxiety. It is OK to say no and practice more self-care.
  18. Declutter your home, car, and workspace. Dr. Kira Bobinet says that Marie Kondo’s KonMari method is popular because it “taps into our innate desire for order, minimalism, and, most notably, mindfulness. It encourages us to be thoughtful, as well as to create structure and systems in our homes that support the lives we want for ourselves.” Check out Dr. Bobinet’s kitchen decluttering tips.
  19. Explore intuitive eating. Rather than focusing on unattainable weight loss goals, try intuitive eating. Intuitive eating encourages people to follow internal cues to guide when and what foods to consume. In other words, to eat what you want when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Read Emma Green’s take on the benefits of intuitive eating.
  20. Go on a vacation. According to the U.S. Travel Association, fewer than half of Americans go on vacation annually. However, if it is financially feasible, plan a vaca this year. Traveling can reduce stress, strengthen familial bonds, and provide opportunities to learn about new places and cultures.

Image: Gerd Altmann /Pixabay

Originally published at Spirituality & Health.

Save the World With a Butterfly Garden

You may have heard as a child that old saw that a butterfly landing on you brings good fortune. A symbol of metamorphosis and transformation throughout the ages, butterflies hold deep spiritual significance across many cultures; there is a good chance that children worldwide have heard the equivalent of that saying.

For Christians, butterflies represent resurrection. In North American Native mythology, butterflies symbolize the soul or human spirit. In the Jewish community, butterfly imagery is profoundly connected to remembrance of the Holocaust.

The Monarch is especially prized, particularly in Mexico. Each year, hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies make their way to Mexico to overwinter in the oyamel fir forest in the mountains of Central Mexico. Residents believe the butterflies hold the spirits of their deceased loved ones returning home and are celebrated during the multiday holiday Día de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, which takes place Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

Butterflies are not just spiritually important, however—they are significant contributors to the health of our planet. Not only are these butterflies an essential source of food for other insects, birds, and small animals, but Monarchs are also pollinators. The same kinds of habitats that support them support other pollinators such as bees, which are critical for creating and maintaining the ecosystem that we and other animals rely on for food and shelter.

But populations of Monarch butterflies have declined more than 80 percent over the past 20 years. The massive decline can be attributed mainly to climate change and the deforestation of natural habitats, but another big reason for the plummet is the steady loss of milkweed, the only plant on which Monarchs lay their eggs.

Since 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been assessing whether to add the Monarch butterfly to the endangered species list. So, the agency approached ecologists at Chicago’s Field Museum to estimate the amount of habitat available to Monarchs and other pollinators.

The loss of milkweed in urban areas, where the plants are often treated as weeds, has been particularly devastating, according to Conservation Ecologist Erika Hasle, one of the study’s lead researchers. The results, which were released in June 2019, show that one of the most important things we can do to save the Monarchs is to plant milkweed in cities.

“We know that people in cities need nature, but does nature needs cities? Our findings say the answer is yes,” says Hasle, who works in the museum’s Keller Science Action Center. “As a country, 90 percent of us live in urban areas, so having habitat there that can support pollinators is really very important. This is particularly important for Midwestern cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. As agriculture has become more monoculture, we’ve lost vital habitat to bigger and bigger cornfields.”

For city-dwelling gardeners like me, the answer is obvious: Plant a butterfly garden and save the world! (And boost my yield with more pollinators buzzing in the garden.)

I use my garden to help center, calm, and inspire me. But I also try to get my kids, 9-year-old Caleb and 7-year-old Molly, excited about gardening because it helps me show them the value of sustainability and of living your values. Now that it’s fall, leaves have withered and my garden is spent; there’s not much to do in terms of planting. But it is the perfect time to plant a butterfly garden with the kids. Milkweed seeds need a period of freezing and unthawing to be viable so fall—and even winter—planting is ideal.

During March and April, Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants, which then, after about four days, hatch into caterpillars. The milkweed nourishes and feeds the baby caterpillar for about two weeks until it transforms into a chrysalis. After 10 days, the Monarch emerges from the chrysalis, a beautiful butterfly.

I have a raised bed in the back corner of my yard, right next to the alley and garbage cans—a great spot for milkweed and other native wildflowers. You don’t need to live out on the prairie to grow wildflowers like milkweed—a large container or raised bed will do just fine. Most people tend to think of milkweed as an unattractive weed but there are 12 native species of milkweed on which Monarchs thrive, and most are quite lovely.

I know that planting a little butterfly garden in my backyard victory patch won’t actually save the world. But it helps me know that I am doing my part.

“People who live in cities think we are so far removed from nature that there’s not a lot we can do to help our planet,” says the Field Museum’s Hasle. “But this is one way that cities can make a really meaningful contribution to protecting wildlife that’s on the brink of being listed as an endangered species.”


Photo credit: The Field Mueseum, Abigail Derby Lewis

Originally published at Spirituality & Health.

4 DIY Gifts for the Skincare Junkie in Your Life

I’ll admit it—I have a problem. I am a skincare junkie.

I was a pimply teenager, so I established a skincare routine at a young age; I’ve put in a lot of effort over the years when it comes to taking care of my skin.

So how do I get my fix? I also discovered early on that I could save a bundle by making my own creams, balms, serums, and potions.

Do you have skincare junkies in your life, too? If so, they’ll love you forever if you tuck these simple but luxurious homemade products into their stockings this year. To make them look extra fancy, use bows, ribbons, and tags to dress up your bottles.

Refreshing Toner

Rosewater is relatively inexpensive, easy to find, and makes a great base for a toner. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, rosewater also helps balance the skin’s PH level and control excess oil. This easy recipe provides a great foundation for a good skincare routine.

Rosewater Toner (makes 4 oz)

  • 1/4 cup Rosewater
  • 1/4 cup Witch Hazel
  • A few drops of preferred essential oils
  • 4 oz glass spray bottle

Combine rose water and witch hazel in spray bottle. Add up to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil for skincare. Lavender, Roman chamomile, carrot, and geranium are good choices.

Super-Power Serum

Adding the right oils to your skincare routine can provide moisturizing and anti-aging benefits—and even help repair acne-prone skin! One of the biggest heroes in my skincare routine is the sumptuous oil-based serum I make from scratch. Since you probably won’t know the skin profile of the person you’re making it for, this general-purpose recipe uses oils that are beneficial for all sorts of skin types.

Sumptuous Serum (makes 1 oz)

  • 1/2 oz. Jojoba oil
  • 1/2 oz. Rosehip seed oil
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
  • 5 drops Helichrysum essential oil
  • 5 drops Rose essential oil
  • 5 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 1 oz glass pump bottle

Combine jojoba and rosehip seed oil in pump bottle. Add 5 drops each of Roman chamomile, helichrysum, rose, and frankincense essential oils.

Bountiful Body Scrub

Dry winter days can be rough on your skin. I like to use body scrubs to both moisturize and exfoliate, two important ways to combat excessive dryness. This recipe employs the humectant honey along with heavier carrier oils, like coconut or avocado, to help your skin glow, even in wintertime.

Honey-Sugar Body Scrub (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 3/4 cup Sugar in the Raw
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup avocado or coconut oil
  • 1 vitamin E capsule
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Decorative jar

If you’re using solid coconut oil rather than avocado oil, melt in the microwave first. Same goes for raw honey, which is often in solid rather than liquid form. Mix sugar, honey, coconut or avocado oil, and vitamin E thoroughly. Though it already smells heavenly, feel free to add a few drops of your favorite scented essential oil.

Winter Lip Balm

As the winter season approaches, so do chapped lips. These peppermint lip balms are sure to put smiles on the faces of the people you give them to.

Mint Lip Balm (makes 10-12 tins)

  • 2 tablespoons beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • Tin lip balm containers or BPA-free plastic tubes

Gently melt beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter in double-boiler over medium-low heat. If you don’t have a double boiler, use a heatproof glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Once the carrier oils and waxes are melted, add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil. You can add up to 15 drops, but I find peppermint oil to be rather strong-tasting. Pour into containers; you may need a mini funnel to avoid mess. You can use plastic lip balm tubes, but I prefer these tin containers because they’re easier to fill.


Originally published at Spirituality & Health.

Photo credit: Marina Pershina/Pixabay